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Our Holiday Has Been Cancelled: What Do We Do?

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 27 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
Holiday Refund Cancellation Package

“I received a letter from the holiday company today, and they’ve told me that due to unforeseen circumstances, our holiday which is due to take place in less than three weeks has been cancelled. Apparently the hotel has been undergoing refurbishments and was supposed to have been reopened by now...but isn’t.

"Of course, they are offering me a refund of the money that I paid them, but that’s hardly the point as I have two children who have been looking forward to their holiday in Greece for most of the year, and I haven’t had the heart to tell them the trip is off.

"I’ve tried to look around for similar holidays but there’s nothing at short notice that suits us, flight wise with small children unless it’s prohibitively expensive. What can we do?”

Advice on the Next Step

Firstly, get hold of a copy of the brochure, either online or in hard copy, and study the terms and conditions. There should be details of what they will offer you in the event of this type of cancellation.

Are the tour operators ABTA members? If so, then they have to abide by the ABTA code of conduct too, which says that in the case of a cancellation like this, they should offer you an alternative, if available, or a refund. You could also be entitled to extra compensation for a really late cancellation, especially if it puts you in the type of situation that you are now in.

Even if the tour operator isn’t an ABTA member, they are bound by the Package Tour Regulations 1992, if the holiday you’ve bought is considered to be a package holiday. In your case, as you booked travel and accommodation in Greece for one, inclusive price, your holiday is a package.

The Regulations give you the choice of compensation:

  • Asking the tour operator for an alternative holiday of similar or better standard (at no extra cost to you)
  • Accepting a holiday that’s of a lower standard and claiming the difference in cost back
  • Cancelling the holiday altogether and accepting a refund
In your case, the tour operators haven’t given you the option and have simply offered you a refund, which is easier for them, but puts you in a difficult position with small children and three weeks until the planned holiday.

The Regulations also give you the right to ask for compensation if your holiday is cancelled – not just for financial loss, but also disappointment and inconvenience.

The only exception to these rules is if the holiday is cancelled due to circumstances that were out of the control of the tour operator – for example the hotel had burned down. In that case you would only be entitled to a refund. This is called ‘force majeure’

What Should I Do?

Contact the tour operator and explain your situation. Tell them that you don’t wish to accept a refund, and that as per the Package Travel Regulations 1992, you would like them to arrange an alternative, suitable holiday for you and your family, at no extra cost to yourself.

You have to be reasonable – if there are no possible alternatives, and they have tried to help you, your other option is to suggest that you purchase a suitable holiday to the same destination elsewhere, and claim back any additional costs from the original tour operator as compensation.

This is perfectly reasonable – although if you are going to do this, don’t book an extortionately expensive trip and expect them to foot the bill, as it only needs to be of broadly the same quality. If you go ahead and book a five star trip to a luxury destination, that costs three times as much as your initial holiday, you will get short shrift from the tour operator.

If the tour operator refuse to be reasonable, make a note of any telephone calls, and keep any written or e-mailed correspondence you have had with them. Your only option now is to book the alternative holiday – then claim the extra cost back through the court system. Write a letter to the tour operator when you return, setting out your reasons for the claim, sending copies of any receipts, and giving them 14 days to respond. If there’s no response, you should then try and issue a claim through the courts.

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Holiday cancelled by Thomas Cook with 11 days to go offered full refund which I excepted, but only offered £60.00 compensation between 4 people totally unexceptable so not excepted what am I intitled to and what are my rights.
Di - 2-Jun-17 @ 6:40 PM
Pickle66 - Your Question:
Hi.we booked a holiday and paid in full with travel republic.26 july.2 weeks ago they informed us the hotel is closing for refurbishment.they offered us 2 hotels but not same standard as original hotel.they say the flights are none refundable.we have contaccted them everyday but still no solution.our last conversation was we would like a hotel we know.it is £200extra but we have £100.and they pay £100 (compensation )towards it but still no reply.do you think this amicable or our we best cancelling the hotel and teansfers and booking with someone else ???or do we stay and fight this arguement because it eas not our fault ??? Mrs travy harden

Our Response:
Your solution sounds ideal to us but if they are not responded this does make it quite difficult. You could try using the Resolver website/app service to get a quick response to see whether your solution is acceptable. Alternatively you could make your own transfer and hotel arrangements and try to claim it back via the small claims court on your return. Check your local Citizens' Advice Bureau to see if they can contact the firm on your behalf.
YourTravelRights - 8-Sep-16 @ 12:37 PM
Hi ...we booked a holiday and paid in full with travel republic ...26 july .....2 weeks ago they informed us the hotel is closing for refurbishment ...they offered us 2 hotels but not same standard as original hotel .....they say the flights are none refundable.....we have contaccted them everyday but still no solution ...our last conversationwas we would like a hotel we know ...it is £200extra but we have £100.and they pay £100 (compensation )towards it but still no reply ....do you think this amicable or our we best cancelling the hotel and teansfers and booking with someone else ???or do we stay and fight this arguement because it eas not our fault ??? Mrs travy harden
Pickle66 - 7-Sep-16 @ 1:59 PM
I Arranged a surprise 40th birthday trip to NY for my wife. Upon check in it became apparent that the travel company had voided the ticket, a clerical error on their part, meaning that one of us couldn't fly. The airline confirmed that we had seats reserved on the flight but they could not generate the boarding pass because of the voided ticket. They spoke to the travel company on our behalf at the check in desk but the travel company were unable to remedy their error within the needed timescale. We missed the flight. The travel company subsequently admitted responsibility.We demanded a full refund which they agreed to. Are we eligible to claim for addition compensation due to the inconvenience caused and arrangements put in place to accommodate the trip?
MBNY - 25-Mar-16 @ 8:54 AM
Paid for package holiday to Egypt ( shark el sheik) all flights cancelled due to possible terrorist attack, paid out £14000, am now told I can only get back £900. They say I would only be entitled to 50% of my hotel costs back, have spoken to travel insurers and they say this correct, how can this be right, it was not our fault it was cancelled.
Tilly - 21-Nov-15 @ 9:36 AM
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